Are you searching for ways to enhance the heat of the soil and the garden ecosystem? Then covering crops is the best option to choose. In particular, cover crops for raised beds are really useful.
Raised beds help to lose the structure of the soil, become predominantly formed, and have a dense structure. Over time, the nutrients in the soil can also be lost, excluding supplements like organic matter and fertilizers.
There is an advanced method that is better than compost and fertilizer, which is cover crops. There are many options for cover crops for raised beds.
There are unlimited benefits of cover crops, which include healthy mulch, enhancement of soil structure, weed suppressant, aeration, and others.
Many can be used for cover crops, but the most productive cover crops will be fast-growing. It is advisable to select a crop that grows quickly and can be easily terminated.
With time, it can improve your soil and then grow your vegetables in your raised bed.
Conscientiously, cover crops don’t need to be spaced. If you’re not nurturing the plant to maturity, you will need to evenly spread the layer of seed. Once you are done, always water your crops and keep them moist until the flourishing stage.
Why You Should Plant Cover Crops?
There are numerous reasons why gardeners decide to plant cover crops in a raised bed. Apart from the improvement of the soil structure, the liquid diffused in a relatively small quantity, which serves as retention for your raised bed, is also highly enhanced. There is a high increase in biomass both on the topsoil and below the soil level.
Some varieties of cover crops are unique suppressants because there is a suppression of growth of one plant species by another due to the release of toxic substances, which makes those types of crops allelopathic.
Allelopathic cover crops can hinder weed seeds from flourishing by effecting biochemicals known as allelochemicals.
What are the Types of Cover Crops for Raised Beds?
The types of cover crops include early fall cover crops, perennial cover crops, winter cover crops, and cool-season cover crops.
One benefit of growing cover crops is that they can be useful throughout the whole year. The following are the types of cover crops:
1) Buckwheat: This is one of the fastest growing cover crops which can be planted and grown at any point in the growing season. It also induces an allelopathic effect, which I mentioned earlier, making it an essential option for raised beds when suppression of weeds is your aim.
Buckwheat is edible and can be harvested for its microgreens or you can harvest the seeds to produce flour.
Although the cover crops are not grown till the date of maturity because, at the end of the day, they sap nutrients from the soil to mature rather than adding nutrients to the planting soil.
When is Buckwheat Grown?
Buckwheat is grown as a fall cover crop or in the late summer.
2) Alfalfa: This is a perennial crop in the pea family that is known to restore the presence of nitrogen in the soil. It is essential to grow companion crops like corn.
Generally, it is grown as food for animals, especially when taken for browsing or grazing, because of the rich protein content in the crop. It also yields impressive purple or blue flowers that are essential for pollinators.
3) Rye: Rye attracts a lot of organic matter and biomass to your soil. Cerealry, such as winterrye, decays and adds high biomass below the planting soil when broken down into constituent parts. It can be eliminated by mowing it adequately.
4) Oats: This is a member of the grass family of plants, which can be grown in the season between autumn and spring. For home gardeners who reside in a temperate climate, this is a great option for you.
5) Millet: This is a unique heat-tolerant cover crop. It can be grown in sandy soil, like most members of the grass family. It is not commonly planted independently, but as a mix or as a companion with other cover crop seeds.
It is important to note that you will plant the cover crops four weeks before the first frost date, after which the crops will be left in the soil over the winter period to protect them from harmful elements.
Cowpeas, mustard, wheat, triticale, scarlet runner beans, and garbanzo beans are also good cover crops you can grow in raised beds.
I hope you find the information in this article very helpful. Thank you for reading.